2012-Legislation

 2012 - Proposed or passed legislation (* indicates states with bills to abolish death penalty)

State Description Status
Alabama* SB 68 and HB 116 would impose a moratorium on executions
SB 69 would prohibit judges from overriding juries' sentencing verdicts
SB 70 would establish procedures for determining if a defendant is intellectually disabled
SB 392 would repeal the death penalty
 None passed in 2012.
California* 1. A coalition called Taxpayers for Justice has begun collecting signatures to place a death penalty repeal initiative on the ballot in November 2012. The initiative calls for using money saved by abolition for solving cold cases and assisting victims families.

2. SB 1514 would attempt to shorten the appeals process by having capital cases reviewed by the the Courts of Appeal rather than the state Supreme Court.  It would also eliminate automatic appeals.

1. Defeated. Almost 800,000 signatures were collected, more than enough to qualify for the ballot in Nov.  On April 23, all counties certified that enough valid signatures had been submitted, meaning the initiative will appear on the ballot.  The initiative was defeated in the general election on Nov. 6, 2012 by a narrow margin 53%-47%.

2. The Senate Public Safety Committee rejected the bills to limit capital appeals.  Defeated.

Connecticut* Abolition bill introduced in 2012. Replaces death penalty with a sentence of life without parole for future cases.

Approved for consideration on Feb. 22 by the Assembly's Judiciary Com. (23-15).

Public hearing on bill March 14.

On March 21, the Judiciary Committee passed (24-19) the repeal bill.  The bill will now move on to votes in the Senate and House.

PASSED IN SENATE ON APRIL 5 (20-16).  BILL AMENDED TO PROVIDE SPECIAL CONFINEMENT CONDITIONS FOR THOSE CONVICTED OF CAPITAL-LEVEL CRIMES.

PASSED THE HOUSE (86-62) ON April 11. GOVERNOR SIGNED BILL on April 25.

Florida* 1. SB 772, SB 352, and HB 29 would require unanimity for a jury to recommend a death sentence
2. HB 4051 would repeal the death penalty
 Neither passed in 2012.
Georgia* SB 342 would repeal the death penalty

SB 442 would disallow the death penalty in cases which rely solely on eyewitness testimony
 Neither passed in 2012.
Idaho Bill to limit ramifications for health care officials involved in executions Approved by Senate Judic. & Rules Com.
Illinois Rep. Dennis Reboletti introduced a bill to reinstate the death penalty. Did not pass in 2012.
Iowa Sen. Jerry Behn introduced S 2095 to reinstate death penalty for murders of minors in the course of rape or kidnapping Bill unlikely to receive a hearing. Did not pass in 2012.
Kansas* HB 2323 and SB 239 would repeal the death penalty

HB 2323 in House Com. on Federal & State Affairs
SB 239 in Senate Judiciary Committee.  A March hearing will be held in the House Courts & Juvenile Justice Com.

Did not pass in 2012.

Kentucky* 1. Legislative proposal to form a death penalty study task force: House Concurrent Resolution 173.  Would study ways of implementing ABA Assessment Report on KY.

2. HB 145 would exempt the severely mentally ill from the death penalty.

3. SB 63 would abolish the death penalty.

1. Passed House on Mar.22 by vote of 73-18. Did not pass in Senate.

2. Did not pass in 2012.
3. Hearing held in Senate Judic. Com. Mar. 1.  A House bill to abolish the death penalty received a hearing in the Federal & State Affairs Com. on June 7.Did not pass in 2012.

Louisiana HB 120: No longer require an electrician to attend executions now that Louisiana uses lethal injection instead of the electric chair.

    Allow anyone, including employees of the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections, to opt out of attending executions without fear of disciplinary action.

    Prevent licensing boards from taking action against people who participate in executions.

    Allow the state to keep secret the name of a physician summoned by the warden to witness the execution. State law requires a physician to be present.
Passed 90-0 in House (April 2); moves to Senate
Maryland* Abolition bills SB 872 and HB 949.  Key vote will be in Senate Judicial Proceedings Com. Hearing March 7.  House Judic. Com. hearing on Mar. 20.  Session ended; bill did not pass.
Minnesota Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen proposed bill to reinstate the death penalty

Legislators consider passage unlikely

Did not pass in 2012.

Mississippi SB 2606 would allow the state to house death row prisoners in the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility, a private prison Passed both legislative houses, later died in committee on a motion to reconsider
Missouri* 1. Bill to abolish death penalty

2. Bill to conduct an audit of death penalty costs.

3. Bill to prevent race discrimination in the death penalty, similar to North Carolina's Racial Justice Act: #1625.
 None passed in 2012.
Nebraska* LB 276 would repeal the death penalty

Measure pulled after debate on Jan. 26. Might be reconsidered later in session

Did not pass in 2012.

New Hampshire 1. A bill to expand the death penalty for all murders (HB 162).  Sponsor would recommend repealing death penalty if it is too restricted. 1. Passed Crim. Justice & Pub. Safety Com., (Oct. 2011) recommending passage in Jan. 2012. Same Committeevoted unanimously to kill the bill in January, making passage unlikely.
New Mexico Rep. Dennis Kintigh proposed a constitutional amendment to restore the death penalty

Amendment would have to be approved by voters. Bills to restore the death penalty were to be heard in committee the week of Feb. 6. The sponsor acknowledged that there is little chance of passage.

Did not pass in 2012.

North Carolina

1. HB 615 would effectively repeal the state's Racial Justice Act by requiring proof of intentional discrimination.

2. S416 would effectively repeal the state's RJA by stating that statistics alone cannot be the basis for a finding of racial bias.  It restricts statistical studies to race of defendant, allows data only within a county or prosecutorial district, and within a narrow time frame around the trial.

1. Defeated.  Repeal of RJA passed by both Houses in a special session. Vetoed by the governor on Dec. 14, 2011.  Legislature had an opportunity to override veto on Jan. 4. 2012, but override failed.  RJA remains the law.

House Select Com. on Racial Discrimination in Capital Cases meets Feb. 10 to discuss changes to RJA.

2. Passed Hse. Judic. Subcom. on June 6 by party-line vote of 8-6.  PASSED in House (73-47) on June 13.PASSED the Senate (30-18) on June 20.  Sent to governor.  (At least 60% of those voting in each house is needed to override a governor's veto.) Gov. vetoed bill, but both houses OVERRODE THE VETO, thereby passing the bill into law.

Ohio* 1. Chief Justice of Sup. Ct. established a blue-ribbon commission to study all aspects of the death penalty.

2. H.B. 160 would repeal the death penalty; Senate version SB 270
1. Commission holding regular meetings

2. Hearing on Feb. 14. Did not pass in 2012.
Oregon Governor declared a moratorium on all executions for remainder of his term.  
Pennsylvania* 1. SB 6 Resolution to initiate a study of death penalty. 1. Passed in Senate in 2011.  To be implemented in 2012.
Rhode Island Sen. John Tassoni proposed bill to restore the death penalty. Passage unlikely; and if passed, likely to be vetoed by governor. Did not pass in 2012.
South Carolina Bill to expand death penalty to specifically cover muder in the course of a home invasion. Bill has met opposition because SC law already covers this crime.
South Dakota SB 42 aimed at speeding up and restricting appeals in criminal cases, including capital cases.  Bill would generally limit defendants to one post-conviction petition and impose a deadline on filing. Passed House Judiciary Com. Passed legislature and is expected to be signed by governor.
Virginia Del. Todd Gilbert's bill would allow "non-shooters" to be eligible for the death penalty if they are an accessory to murder and exhibited an intent to kill. HB 502 Criminal Subcommittee of House Courts of Justice Committee reported bill to the full committee. Bill passedHouse 72-28, Feb. 15.

Senate version of bill defeated in the Courts of Justice Com. on Feb. 8 by vote of 7-7, making passage of measure unlikely this year. Senate Courts Com. defeated House version 8-6 on Feb. 22. Did not pass in 2012.
Washington* Sen. Debbie Regala has introduced a bill to repeal the death penalty: SB 6283; HB 2468

Hearing in Sen. Judiciary Com. on Jan. 25.

Did not pass in 2012.

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